, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 176–183 | Cite as

Huge variations in definition and reported incidence of postsurgical hypoparathyroidism: a systematic review

  • Torben HarsløfEmail author
  • Lars Rolighed
  • Lars Rejnmark
Original Article



The reported incidence of post surgical hypoparathyroidism (HypoPT) varies greatly. Previous research suggests that the definition of HypoPT is not consistent in the literature. We therefore conducted a systematic review to investigate how HypoPT is defined and whether this definition, as well as the selected threshold for hypocalcemia affects the incidence.


Using a predefined search string we identified all articles in PubMed reporting on the incidence of postsurgical HypoPT from 1st January 2010 to January 2017.


We identified 89 articles that employed 20 different definition of HypoPT. The incidence of HypoPT varied from 0.0% to 20.2%. The definitions were not associated with incidence of HypoPT. Use of prophylactic post-operative calcium supplements, however decreased the risk of HypoPT (p = 0.03), and there was a trend towards a lower risk of HypoPT when using a definition of hypocalcemia below lower limit of the reference range (p = 0.09).


The large number of definitions of HypoPT, as well as the huge variation in incidence point to a problem suggests that the awareness of HypoPT should be raised. Use of prophylactic post-operative calcium supplements may decrease risk of HypoPT. This, however, may be due to reverse causality as awareness of the risk of HypoPT may promote the use of calcium supplementation.


Hypoparathyroidism Permanent Definition Incidence 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Endocrinology and Internal MedicineAarhus University HospitalAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyAarhus University HospitalAarhusDenmark

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